For those of you who don’t know, I had a pretty exciting fling a few months ago.
It was a classy tryst, which involved flying to different countries every weekend and learning how to say things like “Where is the bathroom?” and “Of course I want thirds of this homemade pasta!” in Italian. It was three months of waltzing down cobblestone streets, making friends with the local barmen who soon learned about my fondness for tequila, and going for chilly runs before dinner.
Yep, Europe and I were pretty serious.
Sadly, I had to bid goodbye to my newfound love in April, where I was teaching English in Italy for three months, and somewhat unwillingly came back to America. It was a rough adjustment. I mean, I love being in Oregon, and I definitely enjoyed being able to speak English everywhere and cat hug my parents for the first time in months. But living with my parents again and working at a restaurant to restore my savings (Italy stole my heart but also every dollar in my checking account) just leaves me reminiscing for those nights spent on trains, weaving through the countryside underneath the stars, ignoring the French couple making out across the aisle.
It’s only now, a few months later, that I’m starting to get over my European romance and feel like Oregon is really home again. A huge part of Project Home Sweet Oregon was visiting my friends in Eugene and Portland these past two weekends. They say home is where your heart is, and I rediscovered how good it makes my heart feel to be around my favorite people.
The first part of my trip was spent in Portland. Or rather, a friend’s house/ranch/outdoor haven in a small town a short commute away from Portland. I love spending time with this girl. She is one of those wonderful friends who is loving, honest, adventuresome and just plain awesome. She always inspires me to dream big, and I know she’s behind me 100% on those big dreams. Also, she let me steal some super cute clothes from her closet, which is the true sign of a great friendship. The next day, I got an early start and went for a run in Forest Park. This house below popped up on my Pinterest feed a few days before I came up and I ended up running right by it. It’s supposed to be a “witch’s house” and very haunted, but the scariest thing about it was the pentagram spray-painted to the side.I ran all the way up to Pittock Mansion, where I could see the entire skyline of Portland. Then I explored the Pearl District of Portland, which included stopping to take pictures of cacti-covered storefronts, getting lost in Powell’s and finding a Buffalo Exchange to spend half my paycheck on. This place is my spirit animal. I got a greasy, delicious lunch with the BFFle, per tradition… …then headed down to Eugene. I was visiting a friend in town from the East Coast, and we spent a delicious evening enjoying tequila, tacos, and good company. The next morning, I had to leave somewhat early to get to work on time, but not before visiting my beloved CrossFit gym and saying hi to old friends. I forgot how much Eugene Crossfit felt like home. That place has seen more of my laughter and tears than some of my non-building friends. Then I headed home and spent the next week looking forward to when I could come up again. …like the next weekend. I found myself, barely a week later, back in Eugene to attend the Oregon Country Fair. Which was CRAZY. There were hippies! There was body paint! There were nipples! So many nipples! see more pictures here! I hula-hooped, got covered in dust, and even tried a hemp burger. It was fantastic. Visiting my friends has made me realize how happy I am to be in Oregon right now. Sure, I’ll probably always hold a special place in my heart for Europe, but I feel like I’m covered in little love sparkles from having such an amazing time with friends these past two weekends. coming soon: Paris! Florence! Last weekend when I drove home from Eugene and my car broke down but I got a phone number from it! Spain! Stay tuned!